The use of technology leads to both positives and negatives. Agriculture has improved production and efficiency through expanded technology. However, when technology malfunctions, repair costs are often high and specialized machines and technicians are needed. For example, several of the computer systems in today’s tractors are copyrighted by the manufacturer. Often a product’s warranty will only be valid if repairs are conducted by a certified dealer.
These copyright provisions can force farmers to have repairs done only by the manufacture through their local implement dealer. Some in agriculture fear this limits the availability of farmers to fix their own equipment and prohibits local independent mechanics and technicians from repairing the equipment.
Eight state Legislatures have recently introduced bills that give owners increased rights over the software-embedded equipment and electronic items they purchase. The eight states include Nebraska, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wyoming, Tennessee, Minnesota and Kansas. While most agree this is a federal issue, the argument behind battling this in state capitols is that currently the feds have no interest in reforms. However, if enough states enact the laws, the federal government would be forced to tackle the issue.
AFBF: #151 Farm Machinery